5 players the Carolina Panthers could have drafted instead of Jaycee Horn in 2021

Jaycee Horn and Pat Surtain II
Jaycee Horn and Pat Surtain II / Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
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Carolina Panthers could have drafted Devonta Smith

For a team currently lacking a clear No.1 wide receiver, how the Carolina Panthers would love someone like Devonta Smith on their roster currently.

Despite questions about his size, his production was off the charts at Alabama. Smith totaled 117 receptions for 1,856 receiving yards and a monstrous 23 touchdowns in his final college campaign as the Crimson Tide won a national title - becoming the first wideout to win the Heisman Trophy since 1991.

An Alabama player with fantastic college tape but is being questioned on his size. Sound familiar?

Despite those concerns, Smith has transferred his game seamlessly to the NFL. The player formed a prolific tandem with A.J. Brown, which saw Jalen Hurts' production surge as the Philadelphia Eagles reached the Super Bowl in 2022.

Playing in all 34 regular season games, Smith was a key part of the team's NFC championship triumph, topping 1,000 receiving yards in just his second season. And while the Panthers had both D.J. Moore and Chosen Anderson, the latter's sharp decline could have paved the way for a pick such as this instead of Jaycee Horn in hindsight.

With both Moore and Anderson now out of Carolina, Smith could have been the Panthers’ clear WR1 heading into 2023 and the perfect target to pair with Bryce Young. Instead, they are banking on Terrace Marshall Jr. finally showing the growth expected and D.J. Chark staying healthy.